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Campaign Planning: Getting It Straight

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Journal article

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Incredibly, there exists today no properly sanctioned doctrine for campaign planning in either the joint or combined arenas. Further, within these two planning communities, there is no consensus on the terminology of planning discourse. In this article, our purpose is to get planners singing from the same sheet of music. With the recognition that something called a campaign plan is important, several questions come to mind. Exactly what are campaigns and campaign plans What is contained in them What is a campaign plan designed to do and how do you recognize one when you see it While the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College is developing doctrine concerning the Army role in campaign planning, the responsibility for promulgation of joint and combined doctrine for the strategic and operational levels of war resides within other domains. Until guidance concerning the process of campaign planning and who should write campaign plans is institutionalized in joint and combined doctrine, the issues will remain the object of debate and the source of much confusion. Our joint and combined staffs are manned by skilled planners who are fluent in the language of operational art. This reflects well upon the instruction at the various service schools and upon the officer corps. In the main, headquarters that should do campaign planning are working at it. Where exceptions are found, as in NATO, officers are responding to the guidance of the political leadership. The skills and knowledge necessary to fight successfully as a joint or combined team are extant what is needed now is the authoritative guidance to unify the actions of our forces at the strategic and operational levels of war.

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  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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